Phil Campbell - After the Garden

Matt Haigh 09/10/2008

Rating: 1.5/5

Phil Campbell is the kind of guitar-strumming vagrant that the two James's - Blunt and Morrison - seem to have made popular again, with the slight difference that Campbell's music feels as though it would be out of place played at any time of the year apart from mid-summer. So, light, breezy, acoustic laments on lost love are the order of the day; Campbell sets his intended course with opener 'No Love Songs, and very rarely steers from that path. The only point at which the album changes tack slightly is with 'Hey Mama', when the singer forgoes his dulcet tones in favour of a more angry, hard-edged approach, but even this wouldn't sound out of place at a hippy BBQ.

Campbell's voice, while warm and sometimes evocative (at times you can almost smell the desert heat and see the winding dirt roads), proves a strange blend of David Grey and Rod Stewart, but ends up being less charismatic than both. The music is jolly enough; nothing on this record is offensively bad, it's just not that interesting either, the kind of music that was made for supermarkets. Still, if people such as the aforementioned Blunt can be popular, there's no reason Campbell shouldn't enjoy the same success.